Start Time: 12:00 P.M. ET, Saturday, Sept. 5
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Radio: Temple: 97.5 FM - The Fanatic. Penn State: Here.
Records: Penn State 39, Temple 3, Tie 1. Last meeting: 30-13 Penn State in 2014.
Live Stats: Here.
Betting Line: Penn State -7, Over/Under of 39
Penn State Outlook: The Nittany Lions, in their second year under head coach James Franklin, could be poised to make a run this fall. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg is back this fall and while he has been a good quarterback, the former five-star recruit has not lived up to the lofty expectations of the Penn State fan base. Running back Akeel Lynch will be the man this season and will get his chance to earn 1,000+ yards with the majority of the carries going to him this fall. With six four-star wide receivers on the roster, one would expect the Nittany Lions to make a jump forward this fall but a former three-star recruit in DaeSean Hamilton made 82 catches for 899 yards last fall. Geno Lewis and Chris Godwin must take the next step forward and become big time targets for Hackenberg this fall. Penn State should be excellent on the offensive line with three returning linemen that made 10+ career starts.
Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson lead a defensive line that is full of talent but light on production outside of that duo. Zettel and Johnson combined for 23.0 tackles for loss and nine sacks on the season while the rest of the defensive line returns 12.5 tfl and six sacks all together. Nyeem Wartman-White and Brandon Bell were key linebackers and should be very important for the Nittany Lions defense this fall. The Penn State secondary returns seven players that saw game action in 2014 led by safeties Jordan Lucas and Marcus Allen.
Temple Outlook: With a team that shot up the rankings in 2014 on the defensive side of the ball, the Owls offense took a step backwards last fall. Quarterback P.J. Walker has been up and down during his two years as a starter and has the habit of giving the ball to the other team. When he is good, Walker could easily be at the top level of players in the AAC but the problem is the inability to continue to play at a high level. Walker must get more consistent. Despite having one of the worst rushing offenses in the nation last fall, the Owls should be solid in that department if Zaire Williams can stay healthy. Williams was excellent as a freshman but fought injuries last season in a disappointing season. Four-star running back T.J. Simmons should immediately find playing time in the Owls backfield and get a significant number of carries this fall. Center Kyle Friend is the leader of an offensive line that fought through injuries and bad play last fall. The Owls line must improve from last season or it will not matter how well Walker player this fall.
The Temple defense was one of the biggest revelations in all of college football in 2014 with the Owls going from one of the worst defenses to one of the best. 10 starters return from that squad with linebacker Tyler Matakevich (355 career tackles) leading the way. Defensive linemen Praise Martin-Oguike and Matt Ioannidis were excellent in 2014 and should give the rest of the AAC fits all season long. The secondary is full of experienced players that will have their hands full with the high-quality passing attacks of the AAC.
Prediction: Temple is one of those teams that makes you wonder what could have been if they had any sort of offense. The Owls had a filthy defense in 2014 that willed the team to a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility. Penn State is a very talented team in the second year under Franklin with a stud at quarterback and the pieces in place to trend upward this fall. This is not a gimme game for the Nittany Lions but unless Temple has been hoarding offense in the offseason, the do not have the ability to outscore Penn State.The Nittany Lions pull away in the second half and win by 10+ points.